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Opinion: Induction or seduction?


Ditch the cattle prod and instinct to herd employees – Roy Scott says training professionals need to take a warm and fluffy approach to induction if they want to get the best from their staff.

Let me ask this question. Would you rather be induced or seduced? Why do I ask? Well, I've seen a number of articles about developing induction programmes – a necessary aspect of helping new employees to become familiar with their new employer – and I am somewhat perturbed to read words like: process, orientation, measurements, outcomes, stakeholder management, methods of operating, etc.

Now don't get me wrong - all these words describe some of the aspects of the process of what is currently being termed 'on-boarding'! Sounds like the cry of a bus or train conductor to ensure passengers jump on their vehicle.

So why am I perturbed? We are dealing with people here! Not faceless, emotionless cattle. In modern terminology they are human resources – but they are really people, just like you and I. We like to be treated like people, as individuals, as feeling, responsible and responsive people and what I am not reading about is the human aspect of 'induction' or 'on-boarding'. What I am not seeing are words like, welcome, inviting, helping, wanting, special and individual.

"We are dealing with people here! Not faceless, emotionless cattle."

Roy Scott, independent coach

As training and personnel professionals, whether employed or independent, we should be the caring face of the company, the individuals who not only have the formal responsibility to ensure that the employer follows all the right rules and practices to protect the employee from sharp or illegal treatment, but also to actually put the person first and make them feel that they are not just human resources - but people.

Now I know that there are many, many professionals who would quite rightly jump up and say words like 'but that's what I do!' or 'we always put our employees first'. To you I say an unqualified 'well done – keep it up!'

Let me ask if there are any people who might read this and nod to themselves in agreement, or feel just that little bit guilty over some of the 'process' oriented inductions they run.

Hence my question – would you like to be induced or seduced?

What reactions do the words generate in you? Boring lectures, form filling, faceless senior managers, complex dos and don'ts, a brief respite from the reality that awaits at the place of work? Or do they generate feelings of pleasurable anticipation, being wanted, being courted, being made to feel special, being valued, being helped?

"On-boarding sounds like the cry of a bus or train conductor to ensure passengers jump on their vehicle."

We, more than anyone else, understand the importance of having motivated, committed and performing people as colleagues. Individuals who do go the extra mile, who do whatever it takes to do the best they can. We also know how difficult it is for many because of the old-fashioned JFDI approach coupled with command and control attitudes that still permeate many of the organisations we work with. Old-fashioned approaches that don't get the best out of people, don't help them to develop and do keep them in their places.

Come on guys! Let's get back to some real people values where training and personnel means something more than the processing of resources and being the gatekeepers of processes. Let's show everyone just how important the folk who choose to join our companies really are and welcome them with a smile rather than a form. People have more choices now as to who to work for and if you want the best to want you, you have to make them feel wanted – and the best!

Roy Scott is an independent coach, mentor and trainer and can be contacted at


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